Blackburn Rovers 1 Hull City 1: Resilience rather than brilliance gives Hull the Bolton look

Click to follow
The Independent Online

If the first imperative for survival in your first season in the top flight is becoming hard to beat, then Hull City are on the way to establishing their credentials.

For the second time in their first two Premier League games, the Tigers fell behind at Blackburn. For the second time, they showed the resilience needed to get something out of the game – in this case a creditable draw that could easily have been a second victory.

The Rovers manager, Paul Ince, paid Phil Brown's side the ultimate compliment of comparing them to the Bolton teams with which Brown was associated and which not only survived but made camp in the top half of the table. He stopped short of saying that they were a delight to the eye, but for now "hard to beat" will do.

On this early showing, Hull do have a few things going for them. They looked nice and solid at the back, where Michael Turner and Anthony Gardner stood up well to Rovers' examination.

Dean Marney was a tireless worker in midfield, they have plenty of experience on the bench – a little too much experience if you look closely at the birth certificates of Dean Windass and Nicky Barmby – and they have a dash of pace from the likes of Craig Fagan and Richard Garcia.

It was Garcia, the Australian previously with West Ham and Colchester, who nailed Hull's equaliser with a looping header. Ince absolved Paul Robinson from any blame for that, but it still brought back a few uncomfortable memories of the England goalkeeper's misadventures.

For Blackburn, in general, this was rather an anticlimax after the opening-day victory at Everton. Their vice-captain, David Dunn, said in midweek that it would be "a tragedy for the fans" if Roque Santa Cruz or Benni McCarthy were allowed to leave, but it was the striker that he omitted to mention who could have won the game for Rovers.

Jason Roberts scored a fine opening goal and led the line with considerable skill. "I'm delighted for him," said Ince. "He deserved that goal because he's been awesome in everything he's done since I've been here."

Perhaps inevitably, Santa Cruz – whose new, four-year contract saw him greeted more rapturously than ever when he trotted out at Ewood – had one of his quieter games. He could still have decided it with one glorious turn on to Tugay's pass, but fired just too high.

The other good signs for Blackburn included the way that Steven Reid slotted into the role vacated by David Bentley on the right. It was his immaculate pass that sprang the Hull offside trap for Roberts's goal and he averted a danger at the end with a well-timed tackle on Bernard Mendy.

Rovers might have maintained more momentum if Dunn had not had to go off at half-time with an Achilles injury. With him or without him, however, they were not going to have an easy ride – not against a Hull side buoyant with all that early-season effort and optimism.

Goals: Roberts (38) 1-0; Garcia (40).

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Robinson; Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock; Reid, Mokoena (Tugay, 65), Dunn (Emerton, h-t), Pedersen; Santa Cruz, Roberts (McCarthy, 82). Substitutes not used: J Brown (gk), Simpson, Treacy, Derbyshire.

Hull City (4-4-1-1): Myhill; Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Dawson (Mendy, 58); Fagan, Marney, Ashbee, Garcia (Barmby, 80); Geovanni (Folan, 64); King. Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), W Brown, Windass, Halmosi.

Referee: S Attwell (Warwickshire).

Booked: Hull Ashbee.

Man of the match: Reid.

Attendance: 23,439.

Comments